Protoplanetary disk with a dust trap seen as a bright ring (Image courtesy Jean-Francois Gonzalez)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research that provides an explanation for one of the last remaining mysteries about planet formation. An international team of researchers conducted a series of simulations that show that in the protoplanetary disk around a young star dust traps form that accelerate the aggregation of pebble-sized fragments from which planets are born.

The supernova SN 1987A at the center (Image NASA, ESA, R. Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), and M. Mutchler and R. Avila (STScI))

In recent days on La Réunion Island a meeting was held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sighting of the supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), the brightest of the last four centuries and for this reason a historic event for modern astronomy. For these celebrations scientists from the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes chose an animation derived from the model of a team of astrophysicists from INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Italy led by Salvatore Orlando.

Artistic concept of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA held a press conference to communicate new discoveries in the research on the TRAPPIST-1 star system. These results have also been described in an article published in the journal “Nature”. Using data collected by NASA’s Spitzer Telescope, a team of researchers led by Michaël Gillon of the STAR Institute confirmed the existence of 7 planets in this system, all rocky. Potentially, at least in some region of all those planets there could be liquid water.

The Magellanic Clouds (Image V Belokurov, D Erkal, A Mellinger)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the evidence gathered of the existence of a bridge of stars between the two Magellanic Clouds, the two dwarf galaxies satellite of the Milky Way. An international team led by astronomers from the University of Cambridge used data collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe to determine that the bridge is composed not only of gas but also of stars that are old and were stripped from their galaxies.

The Sun during a solar flare (Image NASA/NOAA)

NASA released an image of the solar flare occurred on January 21 captured by the GOES-16 satellite that the agency runs with NOAA using the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) instrument. It’s specifically aimed to observe the Sun and monitor phenomena such as solar storms, which can have consequences on the activity of satellites but also of power plants and other human activities.